That’s the question we considered while developing the ‘Transforming Libraries’ strategy and the delivery plan for 2020-2025. The strategy document was agreed at the Full Council meeting on 27 November 2019 and you can now download the Strategy document (PDF, 720KB).
When we began looking at the future of Milton Keynes Libraries we identified several focal points. We'd like to thank everyone who completed the survey and shared comments.
- To support and further develop community involvement
- To revitalise the central library as an exemplar of innovative practice
- To improve technological services and inclusion
- To facilitate and provide learning opportunities for all
- To support pathways to employment
- To contribute to the public health agenda, particularly in the area of mental health
- To support children and families as they grow, recognising that their needs change
Working in partnership with Town and Parish Councils is key to achieving the vision for library services. There are examples of where this collaboration is working positively and productively so we will build on these successes to ensure that the provision is centred in the communities.
Within an innovative strategy of community led collaborative working, there are additional possibilities for cultivating partnerships e.g. MK:U, health services, children and family centres, U3A and youth groups.
There is broad agreement that the central library needs to be remodelled and refreshed so that it is proudly the flagship provision - therefore a considerable investment will need to be realised as well as agreeing the long term future of the land at the back of the library. In addition, peripatetic library services will be reviewed, in particular refreshing the offer to communities currently not served by libraries.
Libraries Xtra has proved effective in increasing the opening hours and footfall at Kingston and has been incorporated into the refurbishment of Westcroft. It is anticipated that it will be installed at Newport Pagnell when works take place there later this year. With the opportunities presented by the new university it is imperative that library services have the ability and flexibility to adapt to meet rapidly changing landscape. In particular we will pilot robot library book delivery in designated areas as a way of creatively exploring how customers wish to use library services.
With the library service working with colleagues in youth services, music service and Community Learning MK, this is an ideal combination to develop synergies for delivery so that people can learn in a way that best meets their needs.
Libraries are regularly used by job seekers as they provide free access to technology and free Wifi – through the relationship with CLMK we can broaden the offer to help people learn new skill sets including, helping develop computer literacy, supporting entrepreneurs, assisting in developing financial literacy and creating and encouraging connections and networks.
Public Health England is responsible for making the public healthier and reducing differences between the health of different groups by promoting healthier lifestyles, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and the public. Libraries are ideally positioned to provide information and resources to work with local communities to encourage changes in unhealthy behaviour. In particular, libraries uniquely offer a venue that is universally accessible and free at the point of access which provides a) a place of safety and b) companionship for people who have a sense of isolation.
The importance of libraries in children’s development is well documented and understood – and parents or carers use the services whilst they are with their children. In a rapidly changing digital age, we want to continue to be contemporary so that friends and families get what they want from our libraries – whatever their age.
Last Updated: 14 January 2021